Video: Spice Outbreak Impacts Lowndes County
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Hundreds of Mississippians have been hospitalized this month after using the synthetic drug Spice.
Now law enforcement agencies are stepping up their efforts to warn people about the drug.
It’s not the spice that you use on your food. It’s a man-made form of pot or marijuana better known as Spice. Spice is dried, plant material mixed with chemicals that alter the mind. In the month of April alone, the illicit drug has sent over 400 people to the ER in Mississippi.
“The ingredients have changed to the fact, that it has become dangerous, harmful to the body and there have been some deaths, supposedly, to the drug,” says Captain Archie Williams, with the Lowndes County Sheriff Department’s Narcotics Unit.
Doctors have yet to determine if recent deaths are Spice-related because the ingredients to the drug are unknown.
Dr. Keith McCoy at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Columbus says the drug can have devastating physical and psychological effects.
“They experience symptoms of central nervous system agitation, sweating, hyperactivity, hallucinations, paranoia, and just a general alteration in their ability to make decisions and function day to day,” says McCoy.
Spice is often packaged in wrappers that look store-bought. It has many names like ‘fake weed’, Yucatan Fire, Skunk or Moon Rocks. Spice has been easy to purchase via the internet and in gas stations for years.
“People don’t really know what they’re getting. It’s supposed to be potpourri, I might add, but it’s actually Spice. On the Street they call it K2 sometimes and people are smoking it,” says Williams.
The DEA has designated the cannabis-like ingredients usually found in Spice as illegal to sell, buy or possess.
So far, there have been no scientific studies completed on how Spice may affect the body and brain long-term.
Captain Williams says they busted a Spice lab three years ago in Lowndes County. Now they’re looking for the manufacturers of this latest form of Spice.